Time Essay: Small Town, U.S.A.: Growing and Groaning

The flight from the cities, though it continues, is pretty old news.

Only recently, however, has it become clear where that exodus has been heading. The nation long assumed that the cities' lost population was piling up mostly in the suburbs and urban fringes. Not so. In a marked reversal of U.S. migration patterns, nonmetropolitan areas have started growing faster than metropolitan ones.

This demographic turnabout may have many meanings, but one is already clear: the small town in America is once again on the rise.

New census figures that will confirm the shrinkage or...

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